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July 20th, 2003

Self-Checkout Lines Stink

A number of months ago, my local large grocery store took out a few normal cashiers to add in self-checkout lanes. And in their first incarnation, they stink.

The entire idea behind them is that if you need just a couple of items, you’ll save time by not having to wait in a normal line, scanning the items yourself, and bagging them yourself, too. I’m not convinced, and apparently neither are most people: these lines tend to be totally empty, even during the busiest times.

As an added bonus, there is almost always one employee devoted to fixing problems with the machines, or problems with the way people have entered things – that seems rather inefficient.

But some change is a’comin’. Our store is bringing in a program called “Shop-n-Scan”, which is just a revision of the self-checkout… but it holds promise. You enter the store, grab a scanner, and scan all of your items while you shop. When you’re done, you scan an “I’m finished” barcode, go up to the self-checkout lane, and pay. Again, it sounds better… but all of the literature I’ve seen on this is insistent that you only use two grocery bags.

Which seems like an odd limitation.

I think it’s a step towards that old IBM commercial, where a fellow simply put items in his cart, walked through a large scanner on his way out, and was on his way. Can robot cashiers be far behind?

Posted in Consumer Commentary

AJ December 16, 2007, 6:37 am

For one thing im a cashier at Tops freindly Markets and i hate the easyscans they take jobs away and im twice as fast as any customer can scan things and im very polite one of the nicest casiers. and the whole the privacy aspect the last guy said is untrue we se everything you scan theres camaras over the scanners and we see on the screen the product you scan the uscan is just there to make payroll less they should be removed and put the old registers back at least you can have human interaction i mean i love computers but not in a supermarket and some people like interaction with a cashier and i belive this will never change and id rather go to a regular register anyways and always will.

Paul December 16, 2007, 8:41 pm

Are you sure you’re a casier? Because that’s a small town in Italy.


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